from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A flat triangular bone located at the front of the knee joint. Also called kneecap.
  • n. A dish-shaped anatomical formation.
  • n. A pan or dish in ancient Rome.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The sesamoid bone of the knee; the kneecap.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A small dish, pan, or vase.
  • n. The kneecap; the kneepan; the cap of the knee.
  • n. A genus of marine gastropods, including many species of limpets. The shell has the form of a flattened cone. The common European limpet (Patella vulgata) is largely used for food.
  • n. A kind of apothecium in lichens, which is orbicular, flat, and sessile, and has a special rim not a part of the thallus.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A small pan, vase, or dish.
  • n. In anatomy, a small movable bone situated in front of the knee-joint, which it helps to form. Also called knee-pan, kneecap, rotula, or great sesamoid. See cuts under knee-joint, Catarrhina, and Elephantinæ.
  • n. In zoology: A cotyle; a cup-like formation.
  • n. A limpet of the genus Patella.
  • n. In entomology, the first joint of the coxa.
  • n. [capitalized] [NL.] In conchology, a Linnean genus of gastropods, type of the family Patellidæ, to which very different limits have been assigned.
  • n. In botany, an orbicular apothecium with a marginal rim.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a small flat triangular bone in front of the knee that protects the knee joint
  • n. type genus of the family Patellidae: common European limpets


Latin, diminutive of patina, plate, pan; see paten.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin patella ("a small pan or dish, a plate; the kneepan, patella"), diminutive of patina ("a broad shallow dish, pan"). (Wiktionary)



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